How to Write a Script With an Advanced Plot
Definition of a Script
A script is a list of characters in a play, indicating the order and time of their appearance on the stage (theater). It is also the plan of a dramatic work, such as a theatrical play, and the content of a movie with a detailed description of the action and instructions for design. Knowing the definition is important if you want to understand how to make a script.
What Is So Special About a Script
The script of a movie and a play are certainly not identical – they have their own distinctive features and characteristic features. However, there is something in common between them. Let’s consider consistently the differences between these concepts. Any script is a a dramaturgical phenomenon.
An inherent and indispensable feature of drama is the presence of conflict, as it is the source of action. Conflict is a clash of parties, opinions, forces, disorder, or some kind of disagreement. The conflict in a play and in a script is the main force, the “spring,” the driving development of the action; it is the main means of revealing the characters. If you want to learn how to write a screenplay, you should know that in the choice of conflict, the nature of its resolution and interpretation, the position, the concept of the playwright, and the artistic idea of the play or script is realized.
In the play, the conflict is always clearly expressed – it is obvious. The conflict in a script is more difficult to detect – it can be expressed implicitly. However, its presence in the script is undeniable. It must be said that attempts to exclude the conflict from the list of obligatory elements of the script of a theatrical performance are doomed to failure. Such attempts arise because of a lack of understanding of the nature of drama.
Continuing the conversation about how to write a good script and drama, it is necessary to say a few words about the festive drama. In the festival script there are elements of drama – in particular, the basis of the action, the source of which is the conflict. Also, the script of the festival is subject to the laws of composition.
If you want to know how to create script, we have created an easy algorithm to use.
Steps on How to Write a Movie Script
1. Generation of ideas. Write down all the ideas that come to your mind. The more ideas, the better. Note down everything you want to write about; write all that matters. Do not pay attention to the quality of ideas. The main thing is the quantity.
2. Filtration. This is the stage of the critical approach to ideas. If you want to understand how to write a film script, throw away the weak ideas, leaving strong ones that are worth making into a movie.
3. Selection. Consider the ideas you have chosen. Which of them are original? How can they be improved? As a result, select one idea that will serve as the basis for the future script.
4. Logline and concept development. Describe your idea (story) with one sentence. A logline must fit into the template “the hero (X), the hero’s aim (Y), the consequences (Z).” Here are examples of original loglines consisting only of the elements X and Y. Since the ideas themselves are not trivial, this is enough to interest the producer. I would also add the element of Z.
The puppeteer accidentally discovers a secret tunnel into the brain of John Malkovich (“Being John Malkovich”).
A cynical advertiser suddenly discovers the ability to read women’s thoughts (“What Women Want”).
Three young cinematographers go to the forest to make a documentary about a legendary witch. No one saw them ever again. There was only this film left. (“The Blair Witch Project”).
Try to strengthen the drama of story, and add originality, conflict, and intrigue to the logline.
5. A title. Come up with a working title for your story.
6. Comparison. Choose one or two favorite movies in the genre in which you are writing your script. You will use them as a benchmark, comparing your work with the sample.
7. Structure. Make up the structure of the script. When the structure is ready, ask yourself: What is the second layer of your story? What is it really about? In other words, define the topic.
8. Development of characters. What are their advantages and disadvantages? How will the main character change toward the end of the story? What should he or she learn? How do the characters and actions of the characters reflect the theme of your story?
9. Synopsis. Describe the history on two or three pages.
10. Treatment. It is a more detailed description of the story with the inclusion of dialogues (the most important phrases). Write a story from beginning to end, in the present tense, as well as a synopsis and script. (For those who do not know, scripts are written in the present tense, not the past, i.e. not “John Smith hobbled along the boulevard,” but “John Smith hobbles along the boulevard.”)
11. Cards. Write down the whole story on cards. Each card has one scene.
12. Script. Start writing a script. Write as much as possible, and do not edit anything. At this point, it’s important to record the script.
13. First option. Finish the draft. Postpone the manuscript for a week or two.
14. Editing. It is advisable to rewrite the manuscript at least six times. So, this is the second version of the script. Correct mistakes, implausible moments, and holes in the plot. Check whether the idea and the topic of the script answer the original plan. Now, you have the third version of the script. Check the structure of it. Are all the plot points in their place? What can be discarded without a loss of meaning?
Pay attention to the following script example. You may need it if you are going to write your own script. Check the manner in which the sample was written – it can serve as a template for your writing. We can say that our script example was written correctly according to the peculiarities of the genre. Improve your script by using our sample!
How to Write a Screenplay: Work on the Theme
Theme is an artistic concept. After all, every human thought can be used as a theme, and the cinema, as well as any other art, can not set limits to its choice. The question can only be raised about the necessity or uselessness of it for the viewer. This issue is purely a public order, and its solution is not included in the tasks of this article.
However, it is necessary to mention some formal requirements that can be brought to the choice of a topic solely due to the present state of cinematic art. Cinema is still a young form, and the wealth of its techniques is small; therefore it is possible to establish time boundaries, by no means attaching to them the value of laws.
First of all, it is necessary to mention the scale of the topic. At one time there was a tendency, still existing now, to the choice of topics that capture material, extremely expanded both in space and in time. Let’s take, for example, the American picture “Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Throughout the Ages.” Its topic can be defined as follows: Through all times and peoples, from distant eras to our days, man’s intolerance towards man is carried on by killing and bloodshed.
The theme is of a grand scale, and already the fact that it is spread over “times and peoples” determines the extreme breadth of the material. The result was interesting. First of all, having hardly put everything in the twelve parts, the movie turned out to be so cumbersome that the fatigue created by it largely erased the impression.
Secondly, the abundance of material made the director only generally develop it without touching on details, and therefore a vivid discrepancy arose between the depth of the conceived theme and the superficiality of its presentation. Only the modern part, where the action is more concentrated, produces the right, strong impression.
If you want to know how to write your own script, it is necessary to pay attention to this forced superficiality. At the moment, the young art of cinema has the presence of such techniques that do not allow it to capture extensive material. Note that most of the good movies have a primitive story and relatively simple plot. Bela Balash, in her book “Culture of Cinema,” quite rightly notes that the failure of most of the staging of literary works is due mainly to the fact that the authors of the scripts try to squeeze a lot of material into the narrow framework of a movie.
The idea can be considered a theme, a clear formulation of which certainly organizes all the work and gives as a result clearly an impressive work. You can remember, as a rule, to accurately and clearly formulate the theme, otherwise the work will not get the necessary meaning and unity, which determines any work of art.
How to Write a Play Script: Tips
The script and dialogues are considered some of the most important components of a play. Often the viewer’s attention is mostly focused on the speeches and conversations of the characters. We will give you script tips on how to make a script for a play that can help not only in writing your own script, but also in having a deeper and more conscious understanding when watching a play.
- Write descriptive dialogue. Often, the creation of good descriptive dialogue is one of the main failures for most scripts. When describing, it is necessary to work out both the world of the play and the characters inside it. Many novice writers try to avoid exposure as much as possible, but the truth is that it is necessary. In a weak script, descriptive dialogue exists solely for the sake of clarifying the situation to viewers. As for high-quality scripts, the descriptive dialogue turns into exposure scenes. You need to explain and show the world in which your characters live, who they are, and what they want to eventually achieve. Instead of writing long, descriptive dialogue, it’s better to show the whole picture to the audience using the appropriate scenes.
- How to set up a script successfully? The answer is to use an outsider. In real life, the interlocutors do not explain to each other things that they already know. And when creating a good script, you need to look for specific workarounds to avoid such an error. In order for the exposure in the dialogue to be felt naturally, you can use an outsider, or a character who is not in the know. This is a simple but effective rule. Build a scene between two characters and add a third listener to them. In this situation, the initial uncomplicated conversation turns into a game, a kind of struggle for the listener.
- Do not ask stupid questions. It’s great when the characters ask questions.This is a natural way to grab the attention of the viewer and highlight the key information for the story. While writing dialogue, do not avoid questions, but try not to use them directly. They should sound natural, as well as the answers. If in life to answer this question you only need one word, write it down.
- If you want to know how to become a good script writer, you should learn how to hide important information. If your script is too full of descriptive dialogue, the decision can be the training and development of the characters. Since during the play, viewers receive information at the same time as your character, they can learn and adjust themselves to the situation themselves. With this, you can get rid of unnecessary descriptive dialogue. Properly hiding important information is perhaps one of the most difficult parts of writing good dialogue.
We hope that our guide helps you to understand how to write a professional script. We have gathered the most useful information on the topic. Also, on our blog, you can find guides for writing other types of papers. Moreover, samples and topics are presented to help you out.
If you use our tips, your writing will be more successful!